Tuesday, August 03, 2010

What a long 6 months...

So I've finally got some time to sit and post. I return to school on Thursday (the kids arrive on the 11th), and camp ended on Friday. Not a full week off, but I will take what I can get. It's given me time to do this.

First: I've changed the look of the blog for the first time...well...ever.

Second: Here's a preview of topics for this post.

1. Super Bowl
2. Saints parade
3. Greece
4. Portland
5. Oil spill
6. Shazzy
7. Camp
8. St. Petersburg
9. Things that are good.

Super Bowl

My last post was written the day of the Super Bowl. Guess you know we won, right? I was downtown that night, high-fiving strangers (all while pushing aside my inner Howie Mandell), hugging strangers, drinking Dom with my mom, alternately giggling and crying, watching people dance to "Halftime" in the streets, yelling "Who Dat" like an idiot... amazing. I can't properly describe the energy in the city.

My friends and I were reminiscing about it last night, and we were talking about what a long three months of Thanksgiving, Christmas, title games, Super Bowl, victory parade, and Mardi Gras itself. Poor livers. Long, but so very upbeat, positive, and memorable.

Saints Parade

We got out of school early that day. A group of fellow teachers walked to the end of the Carrollton Streetcar line and rode it as far up Canal as we could. We stood out in the (for New Orleans) freezing cold with a minimum of 800,000 of our closest friends. The lines for the streetcar after the parade were ridiculous. We decided to start walking down Canal, because we figured the cars would start emptying out, and we could hop on further down the line. FAIL. We walked the whole way back to school. We stopped at a great pizza place on Canal near Carrollton, rested, re-energized, and made it the rest of the way. My friend Michelle stayed behind because her husband works downtown, and his car was there. Well, our looong walk got us home around the same time their car ride did. Unbelievable.


Lucky me got to go on the school trip as a chaperone. We went to Greece. I hate flying and thought I would never have a chance to go to Europe, and I was very anxious. But a few Benadryl later, and that trans-Atlantic flight wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

It was an amazing journey. The weather was perfect the whole 9 days. The food was delicious. Being in the presence of the ruins devoted to the mythological beings I've loved since I was about 7 years old was breathtaking, as was the countryside. Athens itself is pretty funky, but the other places we visited: Delphi, Olympia, Cape Sounion, and three islands: Aegina, Poros, and Hydra, were gorgeous. In Delphi and Epidaurus, I stood in ancient Greek theaters. Me, a theatre nerd and drama teacher. I was speechless, especially in Epidaurus, where the amphitheater has naturally perfect acoustics. We rode donkeys in Hydra, an island where donkeys are they only means of transportation. No vehicles are on the island. We ran a race in the original Olympic stadium. Words cannot do this trip justice. And now, I have a travel bug. I want to see so much more of the world. It's so big, and I am so small, comparatively.


I went to the Journalism Educators Association Convention about two weeks later. It was my first trip to Oregon, and I fell in love with the city. Public transportation in the form of the light rail is amazing and I realllllly wish we had that here. Or if the streetcars had more lines, that would also do. I learned a lot at the convention, but most importantly, I took a very difficult exam: the Certified Journalism Educator exam. And a few months later, I learned that I passed it and am one of 4 CJEs in the state of Louisiana.

Oil Spill

Over 100 days ago, my state was met with more problems when the Deepwater Horizon Well exploded and started leaking no...pouring... oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

I am so tired of people thinking that this is no big deal or that it won't affect them. Well, to you, those same people who complained when our children overcrowded your schools, our people invaded your towns, and our adults looked for work...guess what. Those areas where the oil, fishing, shrimping, crabbing, and oystering communities thrive...most of whom have known only these trades, who have done this for generations, who will lose their livelihoods, their ways of life, their homes...they will move out and invade your lives again. The jobs, the schools, the towns....all endangered. That seafood you eat? Where does it come from? Already, we had dinner at two seafood and po-boy restaurants where oysters were not available. The brown pelican, that beautiful, graceful bird which represents our state, was endangered. Recently, it came off that list. Guess what? This oil spill is sending it right back. Here's 100 days of tragedy, animated: http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/08/graphic_brings_together_multip.html


My sweet man, my Shazbot Schmoo, stopped eating and started hiding. Two Sundays ago, he could barely walk and wasn't interested in food. He let out a horrendous yowl and vomited bile all over the hallway. There was so much. I didn't know a cat could have that much vomit...especially when there was no food in his belly. Mark was not home, and I called him, scared. We went to an emergency vet center, and they kept him overnight. He was dangerously anemic, and he needed an emergency blood transfusion.

The next day, he regained interest in food, seemed livelier. We were supposed to pick him up that night, but they diagnosed him with feline leukemia, probably picked up in 2008 when he escaped while we were getting our dishwasher installed. It is a virus, and you can go two years after contracting it.

He was never sick a day in his life until that horrible weekend. He started having respiratory distress and they had to drain the area around his heart. He stopped eating. They kept him overnight. The next day, we picked him up, and immediately knew we didn't have much time with him. They thought maybe he would eat in familiar surroundings, but he didn't. Around midnight, we knew he was in too much pain, was unable to breathe well, and was refusing food, water, and medicine. He'd soiled a duffel bag he'd been laying on under the guest bed in Mark's office.

We brought him to the emergency place again, and the doctor agreed that there was only one way to end it. He was in my lap as it happened. I really can't write about it.

Shazzy was 6 years old when he died on July 22, 2010. I love you and miss you, my little man cat.


Spent my 15th year at camp. The success of it lies in Jessica, our fantastic returning camp director, who amazes me continually. Even more amazing? Next year will be the official marker of me having been there for half of my life. Zoinks. It was a good summer. We ended Friday, and I can't wait until next June.

St. Petersburg

I also spent a weekend in St. Pete (Florida, not Russia) at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. I earned a spot (one of 22 people in the country) in a workshop on bringing your high school media online. It was absolutely awesome, and I learned so much. I have a million and one ideas for the journalism class I teach, and I am very excited about implementing them. In addition, we had a mini-getaway. We saw the Dali Museum, which was fabulous, ate some good food, and enjoyed being away. We never get to take vacations together, and so this was great and long overdue.

Things that are good

Lily has stopped living in fear. She is playful, highly visible, and using the litter box for the first time in 6 years. This is so very bittersweet.

I am teaching things that I taught last year, all of which I enjoy.

I am looking forward to being with my "school friends" again. I've missed them the past two months.

I'm sure there's more stuff, but I'm a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I'll try to update again faster than 6 months.


Emi said...

thanks for the updates. did you find out yet if you're coming to hawaii for the convention?

Geoff said...

I was surprised when Google Reader had a little (1) next to your blog. Glad to see an update.

Also, I like the new theme.

Mae said...

Emi: Not yet. We have to resubmit the proposal when we get back to school. We're going to wait a few days to make sure it doesn't get lost in the shuffle, but our instinct is to walk into the principal's office, say, "How was your summer? Send us to Hawaii."

Geoff: Yeah, I know. I slacked off. I also like the new theme. I felt like it was appropriate due to the Gulf crisis.